IREC Launches New Website for National Program to Grow Clean Energy Expertise of Electric Utility Workforce

There is a critical need to upgrade the curriculum of power systems engineering programs to address current and anticipated changes, specifically regarding clean energy technologies.

April 22, 2015 - Several workforce challenges face the electric utility sector: aging utility workers, the large number of imminent retirements of utility engineers, a decline in power engineering educational programs, and faculty retirements in U.S. universities. At the same time there is a critical need to upgrade the curriculum of power systems engineering programs to address current and anticipated changes, specifically regarding clean energy technologies.


Launched today by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a new website for GEARED - Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment. As National Network Administrator of GEARED, IREC is helping facilitate and support efforts of the Distributed Technology Training Consortia (DTTC) created by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative. The goal is to build a national framework for power systems training and curriculum that will grow the power engineering workforce.

A year and a half into the five-year GEARED project, the partners are identifying and sharing best practices and industry workforce standards that will build the expertise and preparedness of current and future electric utility sector professionals--specifically to accommodate high penetrations of solar and other distributed technologies. GEARED is also helping foster student interest and expertise in the utility sector.

Among several unique outcomes of GEARED is an annual student-centered education and peer research exchange conference, the first of which was held in the fall of 2014, where students can meet and learn alongside renewable energy professionals from the electric utility industry.

The goal is to create a national network of centers and professionals that support power systems training and curriculum development based on research, development, data generation, collection, analysis and simulation.

Central to the GEARED project is the Distributed Technology Training Consortia. Composed of three regional consortiums, each with multiple university, utility and industry partners, the collaborators are working toward the infusion of power systems analysis and R&D into training activities such as curriculum and short course development, internships and co-ops, and continuing education.

The project leads of the Distributed Technology Training Consortia include:

* University of Central Florida: Foundations for Engineering Education for Distributed Energy Resources
* Missouri University of Science and Technology: Mid-America Regional Microgrid Education and Training Consortium
* The Electric Power Research Institute: The Center for Grid Engineering Education

The Energy Department's SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. For more information, visit www.energy.gov/sunshot.

About IREC
IREC believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. A not-for-profit organization since 1982, IREC's programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. For more information, visit http://www.irecusa.org

Featured Product

sonnenBatterie eco

sonnenBatterie eco

Sonnen's mission is to provide clean and affordable energy for all. As the first mainstream grid tied residential energy storage company in the world and with 24,000 sonnenBatterie systems installed worldwide, sonnen is a proven global leader in intelligent energy management solutions. The all-in-one sonnenBatterie smart energy storage solution easily integrates with new and existing solar installations to help homes manage their energy throughout the day-saving money, providing backup power, and maximizing the effective use of solar power day and night. Sonnen has won several awards for its energy innovations, including the 2017 Zayed Future Energy Prize, MIT's Technology Review's 50 Smartest Companies in 2016, Global Cleantech 100 for 2015-2017, Greentech Media's 2016 Grid Edge Award for Innovation, and Cleantech's 2015 Company of the Year Award in both Israel and Europe.